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I’m quickly losing trust in the PPA

The PPA is supposed to be representing poker players best interests, but from my vantage point, they've been doing a really crumby job of late.

Maybe it’s just me, but my level of comfort in the abilities of those at the head of the Poker Player’s Alliance is waning considerably.  The PPA is a non-profit membership organization comprised of online and live poker players that have joined together in the United States to lobby for the game of poker.  The idea behind the PPA was to create an organization that assists in educating lawmakers about the “good things” in poker, and to keep it legal in every State, all the while looking out for the best interests of the poker players.

Every big name poker pro that I can think of has voiced their support of the PPA, and for a long time now, I’ve bought into their message that they’ve been sending which has been “We’re fighting the good fight to keep online poker legal and working to protect the rights of poker players as a whole.”  I don’t know the real ins and outs of what they’re doing on a daily basis, but their website has made it very simple to email, call, and tweet my members of congress, city officials, and establish a line of communication to the White House concerning legal matters in the poker industry.  I’ve deferred to them on more than one occasion on issues with respect to the “best courses of action” for the game, and taken them at their word that they’re making the best decisions for furthering the game to the benefit of the players, and passing laws that are the most beneficial to those of us that love the game.

This past December, when Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced a bill to license and regulate online poker, my immediate thought was “This is a good thing for the poker industry.”  The PPA whole-heartedly and steadfastly endorsed the bill and encouraged all of its 1-million plus members to write their government official to support the Reid Bill.  After the support had gone out from their huge membership base, it was made known that in order to have the bill go through, there would be a moratorium on online poker for 5-12 months.  Basically, in order to put forth legislation to “Legalize and Regulate” online poker in the black and white lettering of the law, the Bill outlined a complete ban on ALL online poker rooms while there was an application process to obtain a license to operate online poker rooms.  Then, the bill said that you’d have to wait even longer if you didn’t have a land based casino operation, and even longer still if you didn’t have offices in the United States.  The more that I read about the Reid bill, the more that the bill stunk like it was MGM, Harrah’s and every other major casino operation on Las Vegas Boulevard writing a law that said “Get rid of online poker as you know it so that WE can have a monopoly on this industry.”

The spin by the PPA was “this isn’t what we wanted, but it’s what is NEEDED in order to get us regulation.”  That’s complete B.S.  We don’t need to shutdown an industry that’s already considered legal in order to pass a law to have the government make more money.  The PPA was exposed as being stooges and puppets and tried to dupe us all into believing their horse-crap lies.  I was pissed, but I bit my tongue because the reality was that a regulated industry was better than a non-regulated one, and I came to acceptance that a year without Tilt and Stars meant having to open an account with a Las Vegas Casino after no online play for a few months.  But the bill never gained enough momentum to go through, and they killed the bill completely before the end of the congressional session.  In retrospect maybe that might have been a REAL win for poker players.

That was until Friday, when the Department of Justice indicted the heads of Stars, Tilt and Absolute Poker.   The PPA again stood up, but this time they said “We didn’t see this one coming. It came out of left field!”  Ok…again…B.S.  They’ve been talking about this for well over a year but the consensus has been that it was unlikely because they didn’t have much of a case.  I got an email today that said “Dear (First Name),” and I was pissed that they couldn’t even figure out my name in a form letter.  Why exactly do I pay for a premium PPA Membership again?

Anyway, the email went onto basically say more of the same.  The whole letter:

Dear [First Name],
We’re under attack and we need your help today! We need to show our strength through working together. Join the PPA today!
War has been declared against poker and the people who play the game. Millions of Americans’ accounts, and many millions of dollars that rightfully belong to American citizens have been frozen.  Now is the time to stand up and stand together to fight this assault on our rights. We need your help. Please join the PPA today!
Today is no day to be a passive poker player. Your rights are being trampled on. We need to fight back today. Please don’t wait another minute. When you become a member you will receive exclusive members-only news and information, as well as detailed updates to this current situation as we get them. Become a paid member of the PPA today!
Proud to Play,
Bryan Spadaro
Membership Director
Director, PokerPAC

First of all, I’m a freaking member already.  Secondly, I have a name.  If you’re going to solicit me to your website, the very least that you can do is write me by something other than “First Name.”  The email combined with the actions that I’ve seen the PPA take in the recent months had me questioning why I support them at all.

I deleted the hyperlinks because I won’t recommend that anyone send any money these guys way any longer.  I honestly wonder if these guys are bagging all the cash here and spending it on God knows what, because it sure as hell isn’t on looking out for the best interest of the poker players.  I’m really pissed that this “Voice” that I’ve been given through the PPA is putting out messages like the one that John Pappas gave on Bloomberg on Sunday.  He seemed like a total dunce, and the more that I see the “PPA in action,” the more that I see repeated losses on Capitol Hill and courtrooms throughout America compounded by the evidence of complete and utter incompetence.

I want to believe in the PPA.  I really do.  But as of late, I’m wondering how the anti-poker lobbyists got so good, so quick that they’re just running circles around the PPA.  The people that I’ve heard from in these roles have been there for a long time, and perhaps it’s just time to get some fresh voices in the key positions, because maybe the heads of that organization are just burned out from pounding their heads against the thick brick walls of uniformed, pig-headed politicians that seem to think wasting the FBI and Department of Justice resources is better used on online poker than anti-terrorism, the mortgage crisis, sex-offenders, and the guy with one arm who shot Richard Kimble’s wife.  But I trust that Tommy-Lee Jones will get him in the end.

Bottom line, there are bigger issues than poker in this world and that is probably the biggest problem that the PPA faces.  Online poker in the United States is a very small enterprise, but it produces a ton of money.  Hopefully, the PPA gets its act together and does something worthwhile instead of getting blindsided by obvious political and legal moves.

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